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R. H. Bing papers

Identifier: 90.100-Alumni-1989-Bing

Scope and Contents

The R. H. Bing papers consist of research and conference notes, correspondence, and publications linked to his research in Geometric Topology while a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Texas at Austin. His research later produced figures reflecting his life’s works, such as the well known, “Dog Bone” model.


  • 1935-1984, 2015 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Special Collections and Archives owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections and Archives material in print or electronic form.

Biographical note

R. H. Bing was born in Oakwood, Texas, on October 20, 1914. He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, San Marcos, in 1935 and, after several years as a high school mathematics teacher, commenced graduate study at the University of Texas at Austin under R. L. Moore, receiving his doctorate in 1945. In 1947 he moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he remained until returning to the University of Texas in 1973. Bing was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1965 (council member, 1970-1980), and was a member of the National Science Board (1968-1974) and of the National Research Council governing board (1977-1980). Bing was active in several mathematical organizations, including the Mathematical Association of America (president, 1963-1964), the American Mathematical Society (president, 1977-1978), the Council Board for the Mathematical Sciences (chairman, 1965-1966), the Mathematical Sciences Section of the National Academy of Sciences (chairman, 1970-1973), and the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council (1967-1969). In 1974 he received the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

Bing's research concentrated on the geometric topology of 3-manifolds, particularly their pathology. His side approximation theorem for 2-spheres in Euclidean 3-space and his "Bing shrinking" procedure have been generalized to higher dimensional manifolds. Bing summarized the field in his The Geometric Topology of 3-Manifolds (1983).

Biographical information taken from “A Guide to the R H Bing Papers, 1934-1986,” Accession Number 94-208, Archives of American Mathematics, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.


4 Linear Feet (9 document cases, 1 rolled item, and 2 models (models are not included in the extent))

Language of Materials



The materials in this collection attest to the career of R.H. Bing (1914-1986), a mathematics instructor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Texas at Austin. The papers include correspondence, research and conference notes, publications, typed manuscripts, collaborative research, photographs, a yearbook, reprints, newspaper clippings, and two models.


This accession is arranged into 11 series by type of material.
Series I: Personal
Series II: Teaching and research
Series III: Research lecutre notes
Series IV: Research correspondence
Series V: Collaborations
Series VI: Conference papers
Series VII: Publications
Series VIII: Manuscripts
Series IX: Reference
Series X: Photographs
Series XI: Models

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site. Advance notice may be required for use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sukhjit Singh, 1989. Accural of poster, gift of Texas State University, Department of Mathematics, 2020 August.


Added R.H. Bing mathematical genealogy poster, 2020 August.

Related Materials

The Universtiy Archives holds another accessions of Bing papers, containing former student dissertations and theses.

The University of Texas holds additional R H Bing papers. Their finding aid is available online through Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).

R. H. Bing papers
Original inventory and guide created by Richard Holland and Cherry Sides, circa 1989. Finding aid produced in 2015.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • July 2019: ArchivesSpace migration revisions by Eric Robertson-Gordon.
  • 2021 April: Revised for DACS compliancy, Nicole Critchley

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Alkek Library Room 580
601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA